Artical written for Wedding PR New 02.17.14
In being a photographer in Tampa for almost 20 years now, I have come to love doing weddings in this beautiful “city by the bay”. Tampa is increasingly becoming a favorite location for destination weddings, and for good reason. All you have to do is watch the national weather report during winter months. Relatively speaking the cost of living in Florida is still pretty low, and as a result the cost of a wedding can be significantly cheaper than in other parts of the country. Besides the great weather and great deals, Tampa has some unique locations for weddings. We will share a few tips on the local wedding venues and offer some advice on choosing photographers for your wedding in Tampa.
The Lowry Park Zoo provides a nice tropical atmosphere for your wedding, and great opportunities for unique and exotic wedding photography. The Ituri Forest gives a tranquil ambient tropical surroundings for the wedding ceremony. Where else can you get married, surrounded by Giraffes, Zebras, Pigmy Hippos, and other exotic animals. The bride and groom get to experience Animal Encounters, a time after the ceremony where the guests, and the bride and groom get to touch and feed exotic animals such as a Meerkat, a Sloth, and more. Wedding receptions at the Safari Lodge are just incredible, its one of the few venues where you really do not need any uplighting.
How about getting married with Sharks & Manta Rays swimming overhead? Weddings at the Florida Aquarium Coral Reef Room are “breath-taking”. Filming in this beautiful room with a 500,000 gallon Floor to Ceiling Tank, can be challenging for a Tampa Photographer, but with the right low light lenses, one can create impressive photos & video. The Florida Aquarium is one of Tampa’s most unique wedding venues. If having a wedding at this venue or the Clearwater Aquarium, it is critical to have experience photographers who know how to shot in low light. If your ceremony and reception are in the Coral Reef Room, you only get about 10 minutes for pictures, so you really have to have a Tampa Photographer who knows how to move quick, and prioritize the shots you want. We will typically do shots of parents and bridal party in the Tunnel Tank Area or the Wet Lands Area, so we can use as much time in the Coral Reef Room for the Bride and Groom Portraits.
The Lange Farm and Cross Creek Ranch are two of the more popular country venues. Cross Creek Ranch in Dover, Florida, is one of our favorite venues, it is hard to beat the outdoor scenery, and they now have a large part of the property, including the reception area paved with brick, which makes it very clean and dust free for an outdoor venue. They also built a new quaint wedding chapel in 2012, which is a great back up for inclement weather. The east side of the property, near the building where the bride gets ready is just amazing for pre-cermony pictures, as you can see (right), with the green grass, and wooden fences, and properly placed plants and flowers create the perfect country atmosphere. They even have a old tractor for some really unique farm shots with the bride and groom. Your guests can roast marshmallows in the bonfire that they will light up for your reception, how cool is that! The food is always tremendous at Cross Creek Ranch who do their own catering.
Although most of the beach venues in Tampa Bay are in Pinellas County, Tampa does have one very popular convenient beach venue, The Resort at Little Harbor in Ruskin, which is an easy 20 minute drive down I-75. It is very convenient for wedding photography because it is not as crowded as the Pinellas County Beaches, and yet has all the things we love for beach wedding photography like a pier, rocks, grass, gazebos, water, and all in a small area, so the guests and bridal party do not have to walk very far. The reception room actually has a view of the beach, something that even most beach venues in Pinellas County do not have. There is also easy parking and a hotel on property which make it convenient for out of town guests.
Another convenient venue for out of town guests is the Mainsail Conference Center being it is located very close to Tampa International Airport. Mainsail has a nice rock waterfall which makes for great backgrounds for photography. Downtown Tampa continues to grow and has several great hotels that are very popular with weddings including The Marriott Waterside an elegant five-star hotel, The Embassy Suites Downtown Tampa, provides great areas for contemporary photography, and The Westin Harbour Island Hotel. We film a lot of our Engagement Shoots and Love Stories in the Downtown Tampa, because the night lighting around the Tampa Convention Center and Harour Island is glistening. Harbour Island being right on the Channel gives you great water scenery and with the night lights reflecting on the water, it, allows for some spectacular photography.
Tampa also has some great Country Clubs. For photography, we love green in the background, because it tends to bring better contrast to your pictures, or as we photographers like to say makes your colors “pop”. Tampa Palms Country Club is one of our favorites, because like most good country clubs, it has lakes, wooden bridges, rolling hills, trees; but at Tampa Palms they are all right near the ceremony site, so the bridal party doesn’t have to walk very far. The ceremony is in the beautiful circular veranda overlooking the lake and waterfall. Tampa Palms also has elegant pillars on the front part of the building which gives you opportunities for some stunning wedding photos. Some other great country clubs are Pebble Creek, Hunters Green Country Club and Carrollwood Country Club. For advice on any venues in the Tampa Bay area, feel free to contact us in the form below.
We have a unique advantage, because we also do videography and DJ services as well as photography, so we get to work with other photographers, and therefore, wanted to share some of the better photographers in Tampa. There are certainly other great photographers not on this list, but these are people who we know you will be happy with.
1. Shakespeare Photography. Simon and Beccy are a couple from England who worked for us for a couple of years before the became established in the Tampa Bay Area. They are very fun and will have you laughing on our wedding day.
2. Carrie Wildes Photography. Carrie does some great Fashion oriented shots very artistic.
3. Richard Harrel and his wife are very friendly and do excellent work. His reviews speak for themselves.
4. Photo Announce It. Deanna the owner is excellent with a large bridal party, knows how to take control and keep things moving.
5. Celebrations of Tampa Bay offers packages that include video and DJ service as well, familiar with all Tampa Venues, see the reviews.
6. Stephen Dohring Photography. Stephen who also started working with us before he became establish, one of my favorites, so much so, that I just call him “Greatness”.
7. Limelight Photography does some very high-end wedding, super artistic.
8. CCS Photography. Roger has been a mainstay with wedding photography in Tampa Bay for several years, very experienced and skilled in what he does.
9. Stehman Photography. Carla specializes in destination weddings and does some unique things that will loosen up a bride and groom, very creative.
10. Kristen Marie Photography, very friend experienced in doing weddings in Tampa Bay.
11. Ashley Hamon Photography, a new up and comer from Orlando, who has also worked for us, but headed for some great things as she branches out on her own.
For more photography of Tampa Weddings see http://celebrationsoftampabay.com/tampa-photographers/